Transforming Nature

The time-lapse imagery above perfectly captures the scope of nature’s constantly moving beauty. If this video by Henry Jun Wah Lee of Evosia Studios doesn’t inspire us to want to preserve this planet I don’t know what will.

Sadly though its theme of “Alchemy” can’t help but be considered in our relationship to this landscape. As the filmmaker states in his description, this “is a short film about transformation” and all the elements combined, ”mixed together, create the magic of nature’s alchemy”. It is troublesome to think what happens when humanity inserts itself into this process. Hopefully rather than alter it to meet our own needs, we can find better ways to sustainably live within it.

To learn about some who are striving to charitably do just that, and help contribute if you’d like, check out:

Conservation International

Rainforest Action Network

The Wildlife Society

Sierra Club

Earthworks

And to learn about all the places visited in this video read Evosia’s posting.

Adapting to New Solutions

This past week Cory Bergman wrote an interesting article for Poynter on how journalism will be disrupted by mobile – “the second tidal wave of change” after the Internet. He posits that “news organizations must adopt a ‘mobile first’ mindset” but are mistakenly relying on a “mobile, too” approach.

Track180′s own Editor-in-Chief Ken Sands wrote a piece that takes a look at the history of medium change that the industry has faced. In it he cites a blog post by Jay Rosen whose words reflect the pitfalls implicit in Mr. Bergman’s article, stating that the “original sin” of news organizations in transitioning to the digital format was “re-purposing the old platform’s material” to fit it.

A failure to adapt, or even worse, fighting against this “tidal wave”, will drastically hurt this industry’s ability to be of value to the public. As Ken points out:

“It took a decade before it was universally accepted that news on the web is best when it’s created specifically for that platform.”

With the speed at which technology is moving taking time to come around is not an option. More importantly these new mediums do not have to be a threat to a news organization’s way of business, but rather can greatly enhance it.

In his article Mr. Bergman keenly states “news needs to solve problems.” This tenet is the root of any business and will defy all change so long as it is allowed to. It should always be the driving force. In the case of the news industry this means informing people in the best possible way. Right now mobile creates a great opportunity to do just that, perhaps even the best possible way.

I just hope for the benefit of the rest of us journalists come to the same conclusion.

The Anthropocene: Welcome to Our Epoch

Very cool video from a collaboration between Elementa Science and melodysheep about the new age we are all entering, whether we want to our not.

Made popular by Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen, the term “Anthropocene” refers to the current (unofficial) geological epoch where human activities have had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. In an IGBP newsletter Crutzen, along with Eugene Stoermer (who coined the term), wrote:

To develop a world-wide accepted strategy leading to sustainability of ecosystems against human induced stresses will be one of the great future tasks of mankind.

Joseph Stromberg and Paul Voosen have also both written extensively on further defining the term and its global implications for the future. To get a better idea of what those might be check out this interesting video mapping the history of the Anthropocene commissioned by the international Planet Under Pressure conference.

Regardless of how you define it, there’s no doubt that mankind is a formidable force of nature.

The issue now is what are WE going to do about it?

By |February 13th, 2013|Problems|0 Comments

How Bad Do You Want it?

Came across this inspiring video from Greyskale Multimedia featuring former ECU running back and current NFL free agent Giavianni Ruffin. The video shows Giavianni training to get in shape to reach his goal of earning a spot in the NFL. Not only is watching the dedication, determination and sheer athleticism of his workouts enough to inspire anyone, but the voice over by Eric Thomas reminds one what sets apart those that truly want something from those that merely want the perks that can come with it.

Be it training for a sport or starting a business, the message holds true:

When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful

By |February 1st, 2013|Inspiration|0 Comments

The Problem With Single Source News

The image taken and posted by James Fallows in his article Why I Get More Than One Newspaper perfectly encapsulates why I started Track180.

In these three conflicting headlines lies the DNA for our app. In these three varying perspectives lies the coordinates to arrive at the truth. I could not agree more with Mr. Fallows – single source news is simply not enough. You need more than just one headline to get the full picture. It is the aim of Track180 to make this happen.

Of course since its first inception Track180 has grown larger in scope than this key concept, but what this image reminds me of is why a tool for tracking these views is needed more than ever.

The Truth: It’s Somewhere in the Middle But How Do We Get There?

“It’s complicated” isn’t just a cute way to list your relationship status on Facebook, it is actually a way to describe something much more important – the truth.

The truth is important. We all can agree on that. If your best friend suddenly packs their bags and moves to Guam, of course you want to know the truth as to why they left. You, other friends and your best friend’s loved ones will all have different perspectives on what happened. You will all share different encounters of what happened from your unique perspective, and somewhere in the middle of all those stories will be the truth.

I’m belaboring the point and burying my lead here, but what I’m getting at is the complicated process of settling on the truth. Arriving at it has always been difficult. And today, the process of figuring out the truth is more complicated than it has ever been. We are overwhelmed with traditional news, blogs, social media and a multitude of different perspectives everywhere we turn. And when all put together we are left with a confusing, and often misleading, mess of reality. This problem bothers me to no end. It keeps me up at night. How can we de-complicate news consumption?

I think it’s safe to say we have a long way to go in order to answer that question. In the meantime, I’d like to point you all to Mathew Ingram’s GigaOM story, “Journalism and the truth: More complicated than it has ever been before.”

This is a good article examining the influence traditional media has had in defining the truth up until now, positing that the new norm is something far more complicated, and a whole lot more accurate, than it ever was before. In brief, Mathew Ingram insightfully shows how now more than ever not only journalists, but we, the public, are the gatekeepers of the facts.

The truth is always somewhere in the middle. The question is: what is the easiest way for us to get there?

By |December 3rd, 2012|Problems|0 Comments

Words To Live By

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

By |November 30th, 2012|Inspiration|0 Comments

One Woman’s Battle to Fight Modern Day Slavery

Sister Aziza is helping thousands of African refugees who are crossing Egypt’s Sinai desert to flee the dangers of kidnap, rape, torture, forced labor and sexual slavery facing them.  These migrants are seeking salvation and have found it in this Eritrean nun who serves, as CNN reports, as “an oasis for their harrowing journey into Israel.”

In 2012 the U.S. State Department honored Sister Aziza, along with nine others, with its Trafficking in Persons Heroes Award.

I love stories about people doing something, NOT talking about doing something. The accounts of this Sister’s work and the affect she is having on the lives of so many proves that one person can make a difference and can do so without governments, large organizations or a lot of money.

To hear Sister Aziza speak more about the work she is doing to fight human trafficking listen to her interview with NPR.

By |September 20th, 2012|Solutions|0 Comments

The Science of Political Polarization

How do we know what we know?

Simple enough question but one whose answer could change how people interact, and hopefully eliminate the polarizing affects of bis.

When we listen mostly to people who already agree with us, our pre-existing convictions get fortified, and we start to think that those who disagree with us are evil, dumb or duped. Is it any wonder that our politics are highly polarized, so much so that it sometimes seems as if Democrats and Republicans don’t merely disagree but live in unfathomably different universes? – Bloomberg

This article starts a good discussion on the ways we can build a healthier political environment and obtain a better understanding of what motivates us to act.

By |September 4th, 2012|Problems|0 Comments

National Geographic Gets Creative To Tell A Reservation’s Whole Story

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The first statement of this article says it all.

Sometimes, it takes more than one storyteller to get a story right…

An interesting look at how journalism can fuse with new technology to better develop an unfiltered picture of the world around us.

Will innovations such as Cowbird continue to grow as the answer to one-sided storytelling?

By |August 23rd, 2012|Solutions|0 Comments